The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

By Milan Kundera

It took me a pretty long time to finish this book considering that it wasn't terribly long. (My edition is 312 pages.) I never really got into it, I think. Even so, I got the sense that there was a whole subtle world of meaning that I was unable to connect with. There's a very Eastern European feeling of gravitas about all of the vignettes Kundera presents, and I did find his obsession with borders intriguing; it reflected the same sort of transitional moment that I find fascinating in Westerns. Still, I finished the book feeling like I didn't get it. Perhaps I'm just too entrenched in the modern sensibility that he seems to criticize to be able to fully appreciate what he's trying to say. Or maybe I just disagree with him. Or maybe he's not even really criticizing. I don't really know. I think in order to really understand Kundera's message I would have to put a lot more work in, but I don't think I'm willing to invest that much effort. Not right now, anyway.

Started: 8/30/2005 | Finished: 10/6/2005

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